Black belts magic for Louth martial artists

Black belt students and grading panel at Optimum Mixed Martial Arts Academy. From left, back - Jake Ashman, Simon Frankish , Neil Bishop , Paul Steinebach, Mark Ashman, Will Parkinson; front - George Osborne, Caleb Stephenson, Freya Parkinson, Aidan Pratten, Sean Byrne
Black belt students and grading panel at Optimum Mixed Martial Arts Academy. From left, back - Jake Ashman, Simon Frankish , Neil Bishop , Paul Steinebach, Mark Ashman, Will Parkinson; front - George Osborne, Caleb Stephenson, Freya Parkinson, Aidan Pratten, Sean Byrne

Young martial artists in Louth came through rigorous gradings to earn coveted black belts last week.

Optimum Mixed Martial Arts Academy held their grading days, which included little dragons, tae kwon-do and kickboxing.

There was also a black belt grading in front of a panel made up of owner and coach Sean Byrne, Jake Ashman, Simon Frankish, Mark Ashman, Will Parkinson and George Osbourne.

Thirteen-year-old students Neil Bishop, Paul Steinebach and Freya Parkinson gained their black belts in kick boxing, while Aidan Pratten gained his first dan black belt in tae kwon-do aged only 11.

Caleb Stephenson (12), meanwhile, became the youngest student of the club to gain his second dan black belt in tae kwon-do.

* Pictured, from left, back, are Jake Ashman, Simon Frankish, Neil Bishop, Paul Steinebach, Mark Ashman, Will Parkinson; front George Osborne, Caleb Stephenson, Freya Parkinson, Aidan Pratten, Sean Byrne